Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

The interest of national competition authorities in the matter of online platforms and competition law is becoming increasingly visible. In the case of the Dutch competition authority this growing interest has recently resulted in a call for introducing ex-ante enforcement tools in the context of online platforms. Although the idea may indeed be constructive for the adaption of the current […]

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

The 17th of July has been quite the day for Amazon, at least when it comes to antitrust. Firstly, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has closed its abuse of dominance proceedings against Amazon in return for concessions from the online marketplace. Secondly, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon. This […]

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The MFN cases of the past few years have delivered a series of uncoordinated cases that created a fragmented approach towards MFN clauses. Nowadays it would appear that there is a growing consensus in Europe that wide MFN clauses should be prohibited which, also led major platform like Expedia to abandon these pricing strategies. The recent claim put forward by […]

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

Spotify lodges antitrust complaint against Apple: it’s ‘time to play fair’ in the music streaming industry

Spotify lodges antitrust complaint against Apple: it’s ‘time to play fair’ in the music streaming industry

On March 13th, Spotify filed a formal antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC). In the complaint, Spotify alleges that Apple has been using its App Store to impede Spotify’s competitive potential to the advantage of Apple Music—its biggest competitor in the music streaming business. In what follows, I quickly examine the contentious history between Spotify and Apple […]

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

The recent complaint of Spotify against Apple is yet another case concerning the contractual relationship between online platforms and their business users that appear to arise quite often these days. In the context of these cases the business users of online platforms claim to be subject to undesired practices such discriminatory treatment and unreasonable pricing. The essence of most of […]

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 6th, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt or BKA) adopted its long-awaited Facebook decision, imposing far-reaching restrictions on how the social network can collect and process user data. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that the BKA published in December 2017, which this blog discussed at length. The BKA’s decision—as set out in a case summary and background paper—sticks […]

Abuse of dominance through data overcharges and EU competition law enforcement

Abuse of dominance through data overcharges and EU competition law enforcement

The past year the EU commission and numerous competition authorities have addressed the matter of applying competition law to online platforms. The discussions concerning Facebook and Amazon have even touched upon the difficult relation between data and competition law. Despite the many debates concerning the application of competition law in digital markets, little attestation was given to the calculation of […]

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

The investigation On 29 November 2018, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) announced an investigation into Amazon’s business terms and practices on its German marketplace. The Bundeskartellamt’s president commented: Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon […]